Top 10 Lists

Seven reasons I am super excited to return and teach at my international school this year

August 9, 2015

Some say it is difficult to go back to work after six-plus weeks off during the summer. Actually, I would have to agree. It is indeed hard to get back into the swing of things.


But after a turning-point or stand-out year for me last year, I quickly got excited to get this coming school year started. The first day back was a bit strange, with my focus on saying hi to everyone who I already knew and to those that were starting at my school for their first year.  However, after completing my first day back at work, I started to get inspired again.

People are teachers for many reasons, and maybe those reasons change during the course of your career.  Whatever those reasons are for you, they are the ones that get you excited and interested in teaching; which ultimately benefit the students that you teach and the people who work around you!

So, what are the seven reasons I am super excited to return and teach at my international school this year? Maybe you can relate to some of these!

#1 – To make my own goals for teaching.

Teaching is crazy. There is so much research out there. I mean there are a million things you could be doing in your classroom as a teacher. How can you decide which ones to focus on (because of course you cannot do them all!)?  As an experienced teacher, I have got to a stage in my career where I like to make my own goals. It is not like I sat down and thought to myself that I need to even have goals. I am talking about goals that just kind of pop up naturally; ones that feel right. It is so fulfilling to have these personal goals, maybe more so than the goals that the school makes for you and the rest of the staff.  I have dedicated much of my life to the career of teaching, so of course, I find it very interesting and engaging. With having personal goals for the school year, they keep my interest high and keep me on the right track; which in turn makes me have a good feeling about how I am teaching and how it is positively affecting my students and staff around me.

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#2 – To have the freedom to choose many aspects of how I want to teach in my classroom.

I am lucky at my international school, as I do have a lot of autonomy to do what I feel is best in my classroom. Luckily, I feel like my administration supports me in doing this. I know there are international schools out there that are more restrictive. Some schools even have scripts for teacher to use during their lessons. Teaching in such a structured environment can really drain your inner-creativeness as a teacher. Getting the chance to brainstorm the “best way possible” in getting the students to meet the chosen objective is the best feeling ever for me.  I enjoy checking out what other teachers are doing too in their classrooms, since they also have some freedom to choose how they want to teach. With an open-door classroom environment at my international school, teachers get to see what each other is doing.

#3 – To inspire myself and other teachers who share my queries about what good teaching looks like.

I love reading up on current research. I have many topics I am interested in, so why not share what I am reading with my colleagues?  Teaching at a school is all about inspiring yourself and inspiring others. It is easy to turn into the “just get through the day” teacher, but when you are inspired, you can feel good about your teaching and see that effect on your students and in your interactions with your colleagues.  I know I have found an aspect of teaching inspiring when I find myself surfing the internet for hours on a certain topic. I ended up running out of time to read all the articles I have found, which then creates my browser having many open tabs! Luckily, I have a Facebook group related to teaching that I can post these articles on; for others to read and for me to go back and read at a later time.

Screenshot 2015-08-09 18.34.01#4 – To do research on my teaching practice.

I can’t tell you how good it felt last year to do some “action” research on my teaching practice. Nobody told me to do this either, it just kind of happened. I found another teacher to try it out with me (one that works directly with me in the same classroom) and luckily they said that they were game.  Because of the success I felt last year, I will continue some sort of research again this year. The research last year involved me filling out a Google form that I had created. Every day I filled out the form, which only took five minutes or so. After a few weeks of submissions, I then looked at all the statistics the form had been gathering. It was fun analyzing all the data. With that data, I could find areas that I was doing well in and areas in which I would like to improve. More importantly, all the areas were ones that I had personally chosen (i.e. ones that interested me!). Maybe this year I will have another teacher also fill out the same form (somebody in a different classroom). Then we can both compare our data with each other. In short, I highly recommend doing this!

#5 – To involve administration when I want to involve them

After teaching for so long, I have found that it is super important to involve the administration in your classroom. The key is when and how to involve them. I find that the best time to invite them in is when I have a “just-right” lesson coming up. Always good to have them see your students shine while being engaged in a cool student-centered lesson. You can also invite them in to give you feedback on a new thing you have decided to try. They are not there to evaluate you, but just to (maybe) give their feedback on aspects of the lesson. Remember now, all these visits from administration are instigated by you, the teacher.  Another time to invite them in is when your students are going to be presenting some hard work that they have been working on, a culminating project for example. Finally, I would like to mention that I also involved my administration last year while doing my “action” research.  They were very interesting in my little research project and quite keen to add their two cents on my project.

#6 – To coordinate completely voluntary meetings with other teachers during lunch times.

Teaching is great and working with students is also great. Getting together with other teachers to talk about teaching is great too. But recently I have found another great thing that you can do at your school, and that is to start some common-interest groups.  I started up two different groups last year.  Both groups were all voluntary and met 3-4 times a month. Without saying what each group talked about specifically, they were groups that were trying to start different grassroots efforts for the school itself and the wider school community. The topics were indirectly related to teaching, so it was nice to get the chance to talk to your colleagues in a kind of structured way on topics you do not necessarily have any other time to do so. Both groups started small, with only a few people coming to participate. But as the word got out (we did not advertise these groups in any way, so all new members to the group happened organically), other teachers started joining us. As more teachers got involved, the more serious we became in our grassroots effort for the cause. In one group, we even got the director of the school to join us during one meeting. He was quite impressed with our work and was happy to help us out. As the school year neared its end last year, we agreed that our work wasn’t finished and decided to continue them this year.

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#7 – To work towards presenting at conferences with another teaching colleague.

Not everyone has the right kind of personality to present at conferences.  I can think of a million reasons why I am not the best person to present in front of my colleagues or my peers who work at other international schools. But now that I have challenged myself to do just that, I think I will do it more!  When you know that you have a goal to present, you are definitely super focused on doing what you need to do to make that happen. When you have to get things ready and prepared for your presentation, you are at a heightened level of focus in your teaching.  Of course, this high focus will most likely mean that you are in “the zone” in your teaching.  Many presentations involve the students as well. When you get your students on board with your pending presentation plans, they typically also get excited and are quite keen to help you out and provide feedback. If you haven’t found yourself presenting a lot or even at all, I highly recommend you give it a go. We all have something to share!

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Highlighted Articles

Teachers International Consultancy: Act Now if you Want a Teaching Job Abroad

January 12, 2012

This year there are 280,000 teachers working in international schools around the world. It is estimated that about 10% of these teachers were new to international teaching this year; the busiest year ever for international school recruiting. And for this coming September, the recruitment drive is even greater as current international schools expand and the number of international schools continues to grow.

Berga, Spain

The language for learning in all international schools is English so most teachers come from English-speaking countries, in particular the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the USA.

For all the teachers who are considering making this move, there are a number of things they should think about at this stage says Andrew Wigford, Director of Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), a specialist recruitment organisation that helps English-speaking teachers from all over the world find teaching jobs in international schools. “Start your planning now,” says Andrew. “Most international schools begin recruiting for the new academic year in January and February so the more preparation you can do in advance of this, the better.” Here is Andrew’s advice for preparing for an international job search:

· “Consider what regions of the world may suit you best. Think about the cultural differences, accessibility for communicating with and visiting home, travel opportunities, language issues, safety and security, lifestyle potentials or restrictions. What is most important for you?
·  Apply to accredited international schools or schools that are part of respectable organisations such as COBIS, BSME, FOBISSEA and others. You can find details of these organisations on the TIC website. If a recruitment organisation is helping you with your search, make sure that they only recommend you to accredited international schools, or that they personally vet non-accredited schools in advance of your interview.
·  Make sure your cv is up-to-date and well written.  International schools will be looking for strong personal skills as well as teaching experience. You may want to include details of previous foreign travel and other international connections.
·  More and more international school interviews are being conducted through Skype so be prepared for this. Make sure you have the correct equipment set up and have practiced communicating through Skype in advance of any interviews.
· Work through a reputable organization when searching for foreign teaching positions. There are a few unscrupulous owners in some international schools who do not take the appropriate procedures to ensure that foreign teachers have the correct visa back-up, health and safety coverage, or suitable accommodation. Teachers have been known to find themselves in grave difficulty a long way from home. So working with an established organisation to oversee your placement will give you the security you need. If you work with an organisation that is experienced at recruiting for the international school market, they will be able to give you all the advice and expert support that you need and will know – and may well have visited – many of the schools that you are considering. This will help you significantly during your job search.
·  Ensure that the recruitment organisation you work through cross-checks all your terms and conditions once an appointment is offered to give you the peace of mind you need when taking up a new foreign post.”

Andrew says that some of the best advice for teachers considering the possibility of working overseas comes from teachers already there.  Here is feedback from three teachers who TIC placed in international schools last year:

Clare Lauritzen is now teaching primary at St Michael’s International School in Kobe, Japan having moved from the UK. She describes the type of personality that she thinks best suits an international school teacher: “You must enjoy a challenge, be fairly confident and resourceful, be able to bound back when you have a bad day, not take it all personally, and be able to laugh at the oddities, annoyances and differences,” she says.

Malcolm Scriven is in his first year as a Business and Economics teacher at Park House English School in Qatar. He says “Be clear about why you want to teach abroad. If you want to live in an interesting country in the midst of considerable changes then Qatar is a great place to be.”

Budapest, Hungary

And Dulcie Copeland moved this year to The British School of Budapest in Hungary. She says “Find out as much as you can about the school. Read its website and prospectus. Has it got what you are looking for? Does the school reflect your beliefs? Think carefully about the location too. Might you need to return to your home country frequently? Think about how you would do this; look at the cost implications and journey times.”

All three teachers all agree about one thing: “Go for it!” they say.

Teachers International Consultancy provides a free service for teachers, helping them to find the right job in the right international school. For advice on what to consider when thinking about working abroad and teaching internationally visit or call 02920-212-083.

Also, check out for the latest comments and information about over 1050 international schools around the world.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1996 (China, South Korea, Moldova, etc.)

July 4, 2011

Random year for international schools around the world: 1996

Utilizing the database of the 827 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 24 schools that were founded in 1996 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Shanghai Community Int’l School (Shanghai, China)

Shanghai Singapore International (Shanghai, China)

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)

“The SSIS was established in 1996 to provide quality international education to children of expatriate families in Shanghai. Currently, there are 2 campuses in Shanghai, MinHang Campus and XuHui Campus.”

Luanda International school (Angola, Luanda)

Busan Foreign School (Busan, South Korea)

“Busan Foreign School opened its doors to the Busan community and its surrounding areas in October of 1996. With only two students originally, it has since expanded to encompass nursery to twelfth grade, currently educating over 220 students from 25 different nations. In addition to the increase in enrollment, the curriculum has developed into a highly rigorous American standards-based program that offers students a wide variety of courses and activities.”

Tall Oaks International School (Accra, Ghana)

“The nursery was established in August 1996, to provide a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for children aged between 12 months and 5 years.”

Lekki British International School Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria)

“Welcome Lekki British School is the original British School in Nigeria. We opened our doors in 2000 to students and parents who are looking for a truly British School experience.”

Ocean of Light International School (Nukuʻalofa, Tonga)

“In 1996 as a response to a need from the community and as a social and economic development project, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Tonga established the school and registered it as a non-profit institution offering an international standard of education to the population of Tonga. Licensed by the Ministry of Education the school is now a well-known institution in Tonga.  The school opened its doors on March 3rd, 1996 with nine students, one teacher and one assistant teacher, covering classes one, two and three. By the end of the year the roll increased to 20. The following year approval was granted by the Ministry of Education to add classes 4, 5, and 6. More teachers were hired and the roll increased to 56.  By then the Board realized the difficulties of enrolling children to class one from the grass root level with no English background.”

American Academy for Girls Kuwait City (Salwa, Kuwait)

“The Al Jeel Al Jadeed Educational Institute opened The American Academy for Girls (AAG) in September 1996 to only 79 students from kindergarten through to grade five. Today, AAG has approximately 860 students from pre-kindergarten through to grade twelve.”

Qatar Academy (Doha, Qatar)

Jeddah Knowledge International School (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Horsholm International School (Horsholm, Denmark)

The International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)

“Since its foundation in 1996 TISA has served both the expatriate community and those in the local community who are seeking an international education.”

Qsi International School of Chisinau (Chisinau, Moldova)

“QSI International School of Chisinau, a non-profit institution that opened in September 1996, offers high quality education in the English language for pre-school (beginning at age three years), elementary students (through the age of 13 years), and an expanding secondary program (currently to age 15).  The primary purpose of the school is to meet the needs of the children of foreign expatriates living in Chisinau who require this type of education with a view to continuing their education in their home countries with a minimum of adjustment problems.”

The International School of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)

ISB was founded in 1996 in a rented building with a total of just 17 pupils to meet the needs of the English-speaking community. Within a couple of years the school had grown in both size and scope. In order to serve an increasingly mobile international community, the curriculum gradually took into consideration the practices and requirements of a number of different systems.”

Pechersk School International (Kiev, Ukraine)

Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India)

Hanoi International School (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“In 1996 a joint venture company was launched following an agreement between the Centre for Education Technology (CET) and International School Development Inc. (ISD). The joint venture ship was on the basis of 30% interest to CET, which is the Vietnam side, and 70% interest to ISD, the US side.  The company then opened Hanoi International School in late 1996 using premises leased from the school next to today’s HIS. The student roll at the end of the first year was 54 from Pre-School to  Grade 11. Within that first cohort of students, 15 nationalities were represented. On the teaching side there were 13 teaching staff, including the Principal, and 16 Vietnamese support staff.”

Sekolah Ciputra (Surabaya, Indonesia)

“Much has been achieved since Yayasan Ciputra Pendidikan founded the school in 1996. Today Sekolah Ciputra is an international school and one of the most highly regarded IB World Schools in Indonesia. We believe that our International IB students are truly global citizens.”

International School of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia)

St. Andrews I.S Green Valley (Pattaya, Thailand)

Arqam Academy – Doha (Doha, Qatar)

Dasman Model School (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

British International School (BIS) Phuket (Phuket, Thailand)

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Great Link

Great link #1: How to plan for an interview

April 5, 2011

We found this link at from a post by Jarett Emert.  We found it quite informative.  Please take a look at the full article below and let’s us know your opinion on what you think it takes to plan for a successful interview.

International School Jobs: How to Plan a Successful Interview

By Jarett Emert

Besides the romance and simple pleasures of foreign living, overseas teaching is also a helpful addition to a future resume. The network of international schools is well connected, and once a fledgling teacher is hired it is easier to obtain a future position. Upon completing a stay at a foreign school, you may choose to simply remain at your current school or continue teaching at another international school around the world.

Though the recruiting fair is the most effective gateway to a contract, nothing in the world of education can prepare an individual for these conferences. Having to convince an administrator within 15 minutes that you are the best candidate for his school is a rather difficult challenge. Being given fewer than 24 hours to decide where you will spend the next two to three years of your life, especially if it’s an unfamiliar destination, makes the situation even more complex.

Choosing the right interviews at the right times, knowing which schools offer the best packages and best contracts is a tricky business. Knowing which schools are situated in the best locations is also a challenge. Getting hired may mean four days of this process, sometimes with double digit interviews. Administrators always have several candidates in mind at the job fair and need a decision from you before they leave for the next stop. The carnival continues.

Preliminary Research

When first considering an international position it is important to do some preliminary research and self-exploration. Consider the locations, salary, and size of schools. The better prepared you are on entering a conference, the more confidence you will bring to your interviews.

Though recruitment fairs are the most common vehicles for obtaining a position, contacting a school directly is a possibility as well. For a small fee, some web-based services provide a directory and newsletters that advertise openings throughout the world. Still, most administrators seem to prefer the face to face approach; if they are interested in your candidacy, they will most often request that you arrange an interview at the recruitment fair.

The requirements for attending the recruitment fairs are usually a minimum of two years full-time teaching experience, as well as licensure. Sometimes international work experience and private school teaching may be substituted for this. If accepted, the recruitment organization will often forward information and a list of school openings. This is a good time for you to network prior to the conference. Often some positions are filled even before the conference begins.

Your first and most important task is to obtain an interview. Administrators only have a certain amount of interview slots available. Read over the list of positions carefully, see what positions you are qualified for, create a game plan of attack, and follow it to the best of your ability. Making contacts via email before the conference is important. If the administrator is interested in interviewing you, then you don’t have to worry as much about waiting in the long lines. Also, do not waste time trying to obtain a position for which you are unqualified. Some positions require specialized training such as the MYP (Middle Years Program) and IB (International Baccalaureate). This most often is not a negotiable issue and trying for a position for which you are unqualified can be a waste of your valuable time.

Once you have set up your interviews, the next few days are crucial. Be prepared to have 15 minutes to sell yourself. The best advice is to be self-assertive and confident. Administrators interview many people each day. You need to stand out, as you would hope to in any interview.

If the school for which you are interviewing is one of your top choices, leave at least one interview slot open so that you do not show up late to any interview. If a top choice school is interested in you, the interviewer may continue to speak to you after your allotted time slot. You want to leave yourself some room for this. However, if they hold you longer than you can remain, be confident and state that you have another interview. They will understand this and will usually schedule you for a second interview. Remember that the goal of an interview is to return for another.

If you do obtain a position, you are often given no more than 24 hours to make a decision. Most schools offer a 2-year contract. Administrators need to fill these positions efficiently. If you do not accept, they often have another candidate in mind. This can be a stressful time, especially if you have several appealing choices. Do not get overwhelmed, but consider yourself lucky. Spend the next few hours researching the location, asking intelligent questions, and trusting your instincts. Remember that any international teaching experience will be both an adventure and a struggle. There are no easy roads and each experience will be rewarding in its own way.

Recruitment Organizations 

• International School Services ( 15 Roszel Road, P.O. Box 5910, Princeton, NJ 08543; 609-452-0990, fax 609-452-2690. A private, nonprofit organization serving American international schools overseas. This is a good resource for obtaining a position overseas. The next recruiting conference is being held in June 2005. One must be accepted and have a professional file with ISS to attend a conference. $150 application fee, $150 reactivation fee, no placement fee.

• Search Associates ( A good resource for potential teachers, administrators, and interns hoping to work in international schools throughout the world. They also conduct workshops and seminars. One must have been accepted and have a professional file with Search Associates to attend a conference. Fees for registration, good for three years, $50 administrative fee to attend conference, $300 additional upon placement for teachers).

• Council of International Schools ( U.K. Office, 21A Lavant St., Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 3EL, U.K. Tel. 011-44-0-1730-263131, fax 011-44-0-1730 268913. CIS is a not-for-profit association and a good resource for international education. They also provide teacher and administrative recruitment services. There is no fee charged to candidates, either for registering with CIS or for securing a new appointment through their services.

• The International Educator ( TIE—The International Educator. Subscription service with job postings and a resume bank for American and British overseas and international schools. They offer both a newspaper and an interactive web site with job postings. A good resource for networking before a recruitment fair or attempting to bypass it.

• UNI Overseas Placement Service for Educators ( Univ. of Northern Iowa Career Center, East Gym #113A, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0390, 319-273-2083, fax 319-273-6998. The UNI Overseas Placement Service for Educators connects international K-12 schools with certified educators year round. Services offered include the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair, credential and referral services, and related publications. UNI is the original international fair for educators. No placement fees.

JARETT EMERT is a freelance writer, outdoor educator, and currently a teacher of literature at the American School of Milan. He is originally from Vermont. 

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Information for Members

The Official Launch of International School Community

January 28, 2011


We are delighted to announce the official launch of International School Community.  The premier online community for international school educators!

International School Community started as a crazy idea during the summer of 2010. Our dream was to provide a platform to network and share real information about what it is like working in international schools around the world. After much discussion and hard work involving many people in the international teaching community, this website finally became a reality in January 2011.

We would like to thank everyone who had a part in the creation of this website. We could not have done it without you!

Warmest regards,
The staff at International School Community

International School Community

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